A rugged route around scenic Terrace Pond with a lot of scrambling and potentially tricky wet crossings.
5.3 miles – Surface is rocky with scrambling and possibly difficult wet crossings.
- Also from this lot: Terrace Pond Loop, Wawayanda State Park – Old Coal Trail.
- Nearby: Terrace Pond North, Bearfort Ridge – Surprise Lake.
Our two cents:
Casual la-di-da stroll in the woods this is not. This route has a decent amount of scrambling and a potentially tricky wet crossing and is not going to be everyone’s cup-o-tea.
Updated 12/2019: Minor revisions. Route not re-hiked but the two other Terrace Pond routes listed above overlap most of it and were re-hiked in 2019.
Though you’ll see people doing it, swimming in Terrace Pond is not allowed – it’s patrolled and ticketed. The sides of the pond are somewhat high above the water on rock ledges in most spots, it’s not like you can walk into the water from a beach.
It can be dangerous and several people have drowned. In addition, it’s difficult for Search & Rescue to reach this remote location quickly. See “Terrace Pond attracts hikers from all over, but there’s a reason why swimming is banned.“
Best bet is the North Jersey Trails map set, this trail is on #116. No paper maps at but there is a large map on the trail kiosk. Follow along on your smartphone with our Interactive Map link above.
Though the trails are considered part of Wawayanda State Park, they are now covered on the Abram Hewitt park site.
Note 7/2020: Major changes to trail names and blazes are being made that affect all of our Terrace Pond hikes. The description below has not been updated to reflect these in-progress changes. See Trail Improvements at Terrace Pond for info and maps. Signs are also posted at intersections. For any hike using Terrace Pond Circular (WHITE), note that the section with the difficult wet crossing is closed until the new floating walkway is completed.
Parking: N41.14288° W74.40743° [P7 lot]
1575 Clinton Rd, Hewitt, NJ 07421. Rt 287N to exit 52 (or Rt 287S to 52A), then Rt 23N towards Butler. Exit for Clinton Road.
The parking lot is past Clinton Reservoir and some other small parking areas. Just past a sign/gate for the Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Center is just a large dirt lot on the left with a small “P7” sign.
Porta-john in the P2 lot (as of 9/2019) that is passed on the way to P7. Better bet: gas stations/stores along Rt 23 in Butler.
A long, challenging loop that joins a hike to Terrace Pond with with a loop in the main part of Wawayanda can be found in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City.
Overview: BLUE (Terrace Pond (TP) North) – BLUE (TP North)/WHITE (TP Circular) – WHITE (Terrace Pond (TP) Circular) – YELLOW DOT – YELLOW (Terrace Pond (TP) South)
0.0 – Walk across the street from the lot to the trail kiosk. Bear LEFT to start following BLUE (TP North). It’s mostly level at first, crossing some wet areas on large rocks.
0.7 – Turn RIGHT onto a pipeline cut and continue following BLUE, which goes uphill at the edge of the woods, along the pipeline cut.
0.8 – Turn RIGHT off the pipeline and back into the woods. Continue following BLUE (TP North) as it scrambles up and down large rocks.
A faint trail on the right scrambles up to an optional view, but there is a better one in just a bit.
1.2 – Off to the right, optionally scramble up a large protruding rock for a expansive view over the surrounding forest with low hills in the distance.
Return to BLUE (TP North), crossing some wet areas on large rocks.
1.4 – Arrive at the junction of BLUE (TP North) and WHITE (TP Circular) near Terrace Pond. Veer to the LEFT to start following BLUE (TP North)/WHITE (TP Circular). [WHITE (TP Circular) goes off to the right].
The trail drops downhill and through/over a large downed tree and a very wet area, before scrambling up a steep rock.
1.5 – Walk over to the right out to a viewpoint over Terrace Pond.
1.6 – Long, deep, potentially difficult wet crossing. Marked as “seasonally wet” on the TC map. There are logs to step on, and the edge of the bank – but it can be tricky.
We did this after some rain and the logs were rolling and floating. At one point I put my trekking pole in and it sunk half-way down into muck.
After this wet section the trail heads back up with some scrambling.
1.7 – Turn RIGHT, now following only WHITE (TP Circular). [BLUE (TP North) goes to the left] Just ahead on the right are two good break spots with views of the lake.
1.8 – A short unmarked path goes over to a wide viewpoint of the pond. Retrace your steps, continuing on WHITE (TP Circular).
2.2 – Turn LEFT and start following YELLOW DOT.
2.9 – Continue straight on YELLOW DOT, as RED (Terrace Pond Red) goes to the left. [RED is co-joined with YELLOW DOT for just a bit before leaving to the right, so there are red blazes straight as well.]
3.2 – YELLOW DOT ends at YELLOW (TP South). Continue straight, now following YELLOW (TP South). [YELLOW (TP South) also continues back to the right]
A large swampy area is on the right. In prior years there were signs of beaver activity but we didn’t spot any lodges the last time here (9/2019).
Cross a drainage pipe. The trail was very overgrown and grassy in spots and at points is a wide woods road.
3.5 – Continue following YELLOW (TP South) as it turns sharply to the RIGHT.
3.8 – Continue following YELLOW (TP South) turns to the RIGHT.
Continue following YELLOW (TP South) through rhododendron tunnels and crossing sometimes wet areas on rocks, back to the lot.
Hiked: 10/21/12 – Trail Blog: “Terrace Pond – Wawayanda State Park“